Weekend Wanderer: Summer Cup Final

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It’s a special weekend when a former Matilda and W-League golden boot winner spoils the result to the semi-final you’ve been avoiding all afternoon. Thanks Michelle Heyman for informing me Sydney FC had secured another Grand Final.

Balance is something I’m striving for more of this year. It’s difficult, as I’m an all in type of person. This weekend I feel like I achieved the balance between just turning up and attending as media perfectly. 

To kick things off was an open youth girls training clinic. Unreal to see. Swarms of girls were there, along with a few older heads, who tear up the Women’s Super League week in and out. The amount of Matildas jerseys made me smile, smattered along with many club kits. The varying age groups, sizes and skill levels were all together as a family through the love of the game. 

There was also the smiling assassin keeping a watchful eye over the different drills, bustling around the groups and signing anything and everything the kids wanted autographed. We would soon learn more about the former Matilda.

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In the club rooms, Michelle Heyman wore her heart on her sleeve and honestly answered the numerous questions thrown her way. Smiles and laughter bounced around the room, while serious conversation demanded careful listening ears. The secret to her playing, especially during tough moments? Smile and breathe.

It becomes clear the ex-Canberra United favourite is a huge advocate for the game. Her passion oozes for the sport, while her heart clearly breaks when talking or hearing about injustice. Further her words and actions show she’s a fighter and will continue to fight for better conditions, pay and respect for women in football.

Saturday is the Summer Cup Final. I slip back into a media role after being somewhat a fly on the wall. Women’s football also needs guys to help lift us up. It was an absolute pleasure to commentate with two guys who have supported my football journey so much over the past few years. 

The match, it’s tantalising at first. A new club, with many familiar faces playing together again, against another whose youth is another year older and some quality fresh faces in the mix. Olympia held their own, switching it up in the first half. However, Clarence Zebras set the benchmark, as quality set them apart in the second half. Composure, quick transitions and total dominance gifted the merged club their first piece of silverware. Absolutely gorgeous football was on display for the first hour. At 4-1 the match simply became a training drill of keepy-offy. 

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A bubbling feeling fell over me that evening, when it became apparent my work colleagues had heard my commentary and managed to sneak some of it into the nightly news. It’s exciting, as well as a relief to see the love and happiness my friends show towards me in this moment.

The only regret from the last couple of days? I totally forgot to ask Heyman how to take a quality pre-match commentary Instagram photo. I’ll have to remember next time.

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